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How much is water?
Igor Shestakov (Bishkek)
Since gaining independence by the Central Asian states, mutual claims have been heard at various levels, heated debates and discussions in the resolution of water issues have not ceased. It is not by chance that these problems are attributed by experts from law enforcement agencies of the Commonwealth countries to factors that negatively affect the strengthening of regional security and stability. They constantly create tensions not only between governments, but also citizens of the republics. The situation is complicated by the fact that the two main Central Asian rivers, the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya, are located in disputed transboundary zones.

When the USSR was at its expense, a network of large reservoirs was created with an acceptable water management system for the republics, then still Central Asia. Factors in the flooding of fertile lands were compensated by the expansion of irrigated agriculture. Hydroelectric power plants produced large amounts of electricity in the summer and almost nothing in the winter, during moisture accumulation. At that time, the Central Asian energy system was looped back, and the energy shortage in one republic was filled at the expense of others. At present, such rational use and, moreover, management at the interstate level can only be dreamed of. Thus, according to the well-known water specialist from Uzbekistan Ernazar Makhmudov, when the states of Central Asia became sovereign, mutual consent was violated in water use. “Because of this, there are problems of winter floods, floods, flooding, which leads to bogging of irrigated lands, their re-salinization, the rise of groundwater and the unsuitability of soil for agricultural work. Life forces us to return to the principles of effective business cooperation so that each country, without prejudice to the other, uses water resources normally, ”the scientist believes. To these problems, you can add a typical situation for the Fergana Valley, when many residents of the southern regions of southern Kyrgyzstan are forced to use arych or irrigation water for cooking. Elementary clean water is out of the question. Kyrgyz doctors record an annual outbreak of typhoid fever and other dangerous gastrointestinal diseases, especially in rural areas. Not the best way the epidemiological situation is developing in the neighboring regions of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The reason, as a rule, lies in water contaminated with chemicals and various infectious sticks. Therefore, the opening in the villages of water with normal drinking water often turn into folk holidays. But this is possible only with the support of international organizations.

According to the head of the UN mission in Kyrgyzstan, Jerzy Skuratovich, this year, within the framework of the implementation of regional projects aimed at stabilizing the socio-economic and political processes in Central Asia, special attention will be given to water issues. The head of the mission believes that the settlement of energy-input problems is just as important as the solution of border issues. The government of Japan is ready for the grant support of Kyrgyzstan in solving these tasks. A group of experts from the Land of the Rising Sun has thoroughly studied these aspects. Such attention from donors to Kyrgyzstan is not accidental. According to specialists, this republic and Tajikistan have the main “water storerooms

However, according to estimates by Kyrgyz scientists, the hydropower centers of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, which regulate the water supply, work more on their neighbors - Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, which continue to receive about 80% of the water almost free of charge. Back in the late 90s, Kyrgyzstan, which is in a certain dependence on the supply of Uzbek gas and Kazakhstani coal and oil products, declared that water is exactly the same commodity. By the way, when he was his “premiership”, Kurmanbek Bakiyev also repeatedly noted that he supported the legislative initiative of the parliament to transfer water resources into the product category.

But, for the regional neighbors, such a market position was not very acceptable. As a result of the failure in 2003 by Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to purchase water and energy resources from the Kyrgyz side, a number of the country's main reservoirs were overcrowded. The active dumping that has begun has led to an extremely critical situation in the region, a number of regions of Kazakhstan could be under water. In January 2004, the situation repeated itself, threatening to break through the dams of the Shardarya reservoir. Water streams could flood not only Kazakh, but also Uzbek arrays. The intergovernmental negotiations that took place promptly allowed the problem to be removed by supplying Uzbek “blue fuel” to Kyrgyzstan, as well as Kazakh fuel oil and coal. And yet, the coordination conclusions from what happened have not been made. One of the main paradoxes in the interstate lack of understanding of the water issue is that since the beginning of the 90s of the last century, the countries of the region have been actively discussing this topic in various official and international forums. So in 1994 at a meeting in the Uzbek city of Nukus, the heads of Central Asian states approved a joint program of concrete actions for the rational use and protection of water. Two years later, in Bishkek, the leaders of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan adopted a joint statement on the need to adopt a new water sharing strategy and economic management methods in the field of water and energy resources. But all good intentions remained at the declarative-paper level. The division of water by “national apartments” has led to the fact that each republic intends to independently build reservoirs, half-tines and hydroelectric power stations. According to specialists, the total cost of these projects of the century amounts to at least $ 10 billion. The implementation of such joint interstate agreements would have been much cheaper.

“In this situation, the Central Asian republics, first of all, need to reach agreements on mutually beneficial economic and inter-sectoral positions. Considering that Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are the owners of the largest water reserves, these countries need to develop a single mechanism for using water resources, offering it as a model to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, ”said former Kyrgyz Foreign Minister, well-known political scientist Muratbek Imanaliev. But, according to him, the authorities of Kyrgyzstan did not show any activity in this direction. According to Muratbek Imanaliev, the hopes that this problem can be resolved within the framework of the EurAsEC remain rather elusive, so far, according to Muratbek Imanaliev.

For the countries of Central Asia, water has been and will be one of the main geo-economic resources for regional development. The health of the nations of each state largely depends on its quality and quantity. In any case, the leaders and governments of the republics will have to make a choice in favor of the stable existence of their states or irreconcilable political ambitions.
DISCUSSION
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Igor Shestakov
[email protected]
21.02.2006, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan,
I would not want the Oasis website to become a place for a showdown. But in this case we are talking about the honor of a journalist. I wrote this material as a journalist and expert on security and environmental issues in Central Asia. I wound thousands of kilometers across the Fergana Valley. I saw that because of the lack of access to normal drinking water, children get very sick and die. I saw that in the Aravansky district people are forced to drink irrigation water with pesticides. The other is simply no. I saw how children who go to school for 6 - 7 kilometers to school, while experiencing inhuman thirst. They have no water columns on their way. I saw great joy on the faces of residents of remote villages of the Batken region, whom UNDP helped build water pipelines. Yes, I could write about it, but this is not the essence of the problem. I was an eyewitness to many of the signed interstate protocols and memorandums, but the ambitions of politicians are probably more important than the health of people for whom great happiness is a sip of clean water. That is what my stuff is about. It is a pity Batyrzhan that you did not understand this. As for Mr. Ernazar Makhmudov, I listened to his report at one of the conferences. These lines are from there. With Mr. Jerzy Skuratovich we talked on this topic. Apparently, you are not a journalist, just write about what you do not know. To broaden my horizons, I advise you to travel around the Fergana Valley. I recommend to choose July in order to understand what the problem of water means. Igor Shestakov.
back Hamidov
[email protected]
02.02.2006, Uzbekistan, Tashkent
The article is simply rewritten and compiled from scientific journals. There are no specific references to sources - is this journalism? Surely Makhmudov and Skuratovich answered precisely your questions? Ugly it turns out. Would be ashamed to send such materials to the competition!
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